RIP Republican Primary: 13 Unforgettable Moments

PHOTO: Candidates Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman, Jr.
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Rest in peace 2012 Republican Primary. After Mitt Romney's win in the Texas primary Tuesday night, the presumptive Republican nominee passed the magic number of 1,144 delegates and effectively put an end to the GOP primary battle.

While he will not officially secure the nomination until the party's convention in August, Romney has secured the majority of the delegates up for grabs, surpassing his next-closest rival Rick Santorum by nearly 900 delegates.

So as the past year of candidate speculating, interparty bickering and viral misspeaking ends with a Romney victory, here's a look back at the highlights and bloopers of the 2012 GOP primary.

VIDEO: Texas governor looks to bounce back after GOP debate slip-up.
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The 'Oops' Heard Round the Country

The 2012 GOP primary has no shortage of embarrassing slip-ups, but Rick Perry's "oops" may take the cake for the most resounding and campaign-ending gaffe of the Republican race.

During a November GOP presidential debate in Michigan Perry, who often stumbled on the debate stage, forgot one of the three federal agencies he planned to eliminate if elected president.

For an excruciatingly embarrassing 54 seconds the Texas governor fumbled for the name of the agency before finally declaring "I can't, the third one I can't… oops."

Despite an all-out media blitz in the days following the flub, Perry never recovered from his moment of memory lapse. Perry dropped his presidential bid two months later after dismal showings in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

VIDEO: Newt Gingrich Soars as Cain's Libya Video Hits Web
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'All This Stuff Twirling Around In My Head'

Rick Perry's 54-second brain freeze was a mere blink of confusion compared to Herman Cain's five minute fumble over how he would respond to the Libyan uprising.

When asked in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in November whether he agreed with President Obama on Libya or not, Cain struggled to compose a coherent answer.

"President Obama supported the uprising, correct?" Cain asked the reporters, between long stretches of silence while fumbling with his water bottle.

"I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason," he tries again. "No, that's a different one." After more silence, Cain then says "I've got to go back to — got all this stuff twirling around in my head."

The foreign policy flub, which went viral online after the Journal-Sentinel posted the video clip, was not the first for Cain. In October Cain said it was not important for him to know the leader of "small insignificant states" like Uzbekistan, or "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan" as he called it.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later mocked Cain for his comment, dismissing the presidential candidate as a "former pizza company owner."

VIDEO: Can voters relate to Mitt Romney, a candidate with a quarter-billion-dollar fortune?
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Romney's Car Elevators and Cadillacs

As one of the richest people who has ever run for president, Mitt Romney has faced constant criticism that his immense wealth makes him out of touch with average Americans.

Making plans to remodel his $12 million vacation home in La Jolla, Calif., , including adding car elevators to the beachfront house, has not helped Romney create that average Joe image.

Mentioning that he is friends with Nascar team owners, likes "being able to fire people" and owns "a couple of Cadillacs" has not helped either.

VIDEO: Jonathan Karl reports on new developments in the GOP candidate's scandal.
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Cain's Sexual Assault Scandal

While neither his Libya fumble nor his Uzbekistan stumble could derail the Cain Train, a flood of sexual harassment accusations stopped it in its tracks.

Two women accused Cain of sexually harassing them while he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association. A third, Ginger White, alleged that she and Cain had a 13-year-long extramarital affair.

Cain adamantly, and continuously denied all of the accusations, saying he was being "falsely accused."

He dropped out of the presidential race a month after the first allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

VIDEO: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney spar on health care.
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Romney's $10,000 Bet

A debate stage brawl turned into the most contentious wager of the GOP primary after Mitt Romney bet Rick Perry $10,000 that he did not express support for an individual mandate for health care in the first edition of his book.

"You were for individual mandates, my friend," Perry said to Romney during ABC's Iowa debate in December. "You know what — you raised that before," Romney replied, extending his hand towards his Republican rival "I tell you what. 10,000 bucks. $10,000 bet."

And then the Twitterverse erupted. According to an analysis by Bluefin Labs, an ABC partner, 3,400 tweets were sent about Romney's bet in the minutes following his on-air offer. The comment sparked the hashtag #what10Kbuys, which trended worldwide.

Offline, the comment was woven into a the running narrative that Romney's wealth makes him unable to relate to average Americans, whom his rivals claimed could not afford to make $10,000 bets.

Paul's Tough Love for Uninsured Patients

Ron Paul, a diehard advocate for smaller government and personal liberty, caused a stir at the Tea Party debate in September when he said churches, not the federal government, should pay for uninsured patients.

When CNN debate moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Paul if an uninsured 30-year-old man working man in a coma should be treated at a hospital, Paul said he should "assume responsibility for himself. That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risk."

"Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?" Blitzer followed up.

While a handful of the audience members shouted "Yeah!" Paul mumbled "No" before explaining that churches, neighbors and friends should foot the bill for the uninsured patient.

VIDEO: Will questions Mitt Romney's association with the real estate mogul.
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The Donald Distraction

He never made a play for the Republican presidential nomination. He never launched a campaign as an independent. And he never moderated a GOP debate. But that did not stop Donald Trump from snagging the spotlight by saying he would do each of those things.

The real estate millionaire, infamous for his ability to cause a ruckus, made waves throughout the GOP primary not because of actions he took, but for merely floating the idea of his possible presidential bid.

The Donald is at it again this week, eclipsing Romney's 1,144 delegate milestone by holding a fundraiser for the GOP nominee and continuing to question whether President Obama was born in America.

VIDEO: Former Alaska governor announces that she will not seek the presidency.
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Palin-Palooza

The only other non-candidate who rivaled Donald Trump as the biggest distraction of the GOP primary is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

A year ago, all signs pointed to a Palin presidential run. The former vice presidential candidate had a deep-pocketed Super PAC, a decked-out bus, an early primary state tour and a campaign-like video.

But while the national media scrambled to follow Palin to her often unannounced speeches and events, the big announcement never came. In October Palin posted an open letter stating she would not seek the Republican nomination.

VIDEO: Presidential candidate would make space a priority.
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Gingrich: To the Moon!

While the other candidates were touting their economic plans or talking about immigration reform leading up to the Florida primary, Newt Gingrich floated a policy prescription was far loftier than tax reform or border fences.

"By the end of my second term," Gingrich told Floridians in January, "we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American."

Gingrich's call for moon colonies soon became fodder for late-night television skits, rivals' mocking attacks and even a satirical children's book.

During his official announcement that he was dropping out of the GOP race, Gingrich joked that his call for colonizing the moon was "not my most clever comment in this campaign."

PHOTO: Candidates Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman, Jr.
David McNew/Getty Images
Failure's $174 Million Price Tag

One of the biggest blunders of the GOP primary did not come from the candidates, but from their deep-pocketed supporters.

From an investment perspective the people who bankrolled the eight failed candidates' campaigns pumped $174 million into bad investments, when Super PACs are taken into account.

Donors dumped more than $132 million into these failed candidates campaigns themselves, according to campaign disclosure data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Presidential candidate speaks to ABC?s Jonathan Karl on eve of N.H. primary.
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Jon Huntsman's Mandarin Moment

In the first nine months of the GOP primary, the candidates met on the debate stage 21 times.

And while Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China, bantered with his Republican rivals on everything from tax reform to border security, the on-stage moment he is most likely remembered for is the one which most Americans did not understand.

After Romney criticized Huntsman for having a soft policy towards China, which Romney blamed for killing American jobs, Huntsman responded by speaking Mandarin.

"He doesn't understand the situation," Huntsman told the debate crowd in Chinese.

But despite being the only presidential candidate in recent memory to break out into Mandarin at a debate, Huntsman never garnered enough support to win any state primaries. He officially ended his presidential campaign on Jan. 15, after a distant third-place finish in New Hampshire.

VIDEO: ABC Political Director Amy Walter Explains the Dramatic Primary Results.
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RIP South Carolina's Perfect Predictions

South Carolina's perfect record at picking the eventual Republican presidential nominee was shattered this year when the Palmetto State tapped Newt Gingrich to win the nomination. Gingrich eventually ended his floundering campaign on May 2, almost exactly one year after it began.

Since South Carolina began holding its statewide Republican primary in 1980, the candidate who won the state went on to win the nomination every time. Newt Gingrich broke the historical precedent when he won the state, becoming the first candidate to prevail in South Carolina without having already won in Iowa or New Hampshire.

South Carolina was one of only two states the former House speaker won during his year-long trek towards the Republican nomination.

VIDEO: Jake Tapper examines the results of the Iowa straw poll.
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Iowa Straw Poll A Predictor No More

The 2012 Republican primary was the first time in 25 years that the Iowa Straw Poll in August has not predicted which candidate will go on to win the Iowa Caucus.

Since 1987 the first or second-place winner of the summertime contest has gone on to win the Iowa Caucus. But much like Gingrich nullified South Carolina's successful prediction streak, Rep. Michele Bachmann demolished the Iowa Straw Poll's historical prediction precedence.

Bachmann, a Tea Party darling, won the Iowa Straw Poll, which is nonbinding but has been a momentum setter and a gauge of a candidate's organizational ability and enthusiasm within the first voting state of the primary season.

Despite her victory in August, the Minnesota Congresswoman finished dead last among the six candidates competing in the Iowa Caucus. Ron Paul, the straw poll's second-place finisher, fell to third place in the January caucuses.

Rick Santorum, who after much contention squeaked by with a victory in Iowa, came in fourth in the straw poll with less than 10 percent of the votes.

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